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French Phrases: Talking about the Olympic Games in French

On this page, we look at some vocabulary and phrases that will be useful for talking about the Olympic games in French. Naturally, some of this vocabulary relates to sport in general, whilst some is fairly specific to the Olympics.

les Jeux Olympiques de Londres-the London Olympics
"les Jeux"-"the Games"
"JO 2012"-"London 2012"
le stade olympique-the Olympic stadium
un(e) athlète-an athlete, runner, Olympian
une médaille ...-a ... medal
... d'or-gold
... d'argent-silver
... de bronze-bronze
un(e) médaillé(e) olympique-an Olympic medalist
le médaillé d'or/d'argent-the gold/silver medalist
les (jeux) paralympiques-the Paralympics
(le relais de) la flamme olympique-the Olympic torch (relay)
la cérémonie d'ouverture-the opening ceremony
la cérémonie de clôture-the closing ceremony
une course-a race
une épreuve-an event
l'épreuve de...-the ... event (See event names below)
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Events (les Úpreuves)

Of course, many of these event names apply as names of sports generally. Note that in many ordinary sentences, you would tend to use the article in French (except when preceded by en or de– see below), whereas in English the article wouldn't be used.

le programme olympique-the Olympuic programme
les sports équestres-equestrian sports
les sports aquatiques-watersports, aquatic sports
le badminton-badminton
le basket(-ball)-basketball
le beach-volley-beach volleyball
la boxe-boxing
le cyclisme-cycling
le football-football
la gymnastique-gymnastics
le hockey sur gazon-field hockey
le judo-judo
le kayak-canoeing
la lutte (libre)-free wrestling
la lutte gréco-romaine-Greek wrestling
la natation-swimming
la natation synchronisée-synchronised swimming
le pentathlon-the pentathlon
le plongeon-diving
le taekwando-taekwondo
le tennistɛnistennis
le tennis de tabletɛniz də tabltable tennis
le tir-shooting
le tir à l'arctiʁ a laʁkarchery
le triathlon-the triathlon
la voile-sailing
le volley-ball en salle-indoor volleyball
le water-polo-water polo
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How to say at boxing, at swimming etc

Generally speaking, the French word en is used: en natation = at swimming, en cyclisme = at cycling etc. When the French word is masculine, then the French word au can also be used: au cyclisme, au judo. Current usage appears split pretty much 50-50 between en and au in many of these cases. In the plural, aux is more common than en, and appears to be preferred by conservative spakers: aux sports équestres. But en is still used by some.

Note that the article (le, la or l') is dropped with en. It is also dropped with de, as in l'épreuve de natation = the swimming event.


sur les pistes-on the tracks
être sur les podiums-to be a medal-winner
emporter la médaille d'or/d'argent/de bronze-to win gold/silver/bronze
l'emporter (sur...)-to win (against...)
arriver premier/première-to come first
arriver deuxième-to come second
se placer en ...ième position-to place ...th
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Page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright (c) Javamex UK 2014. All rights reserved.